Are you being stalked?
Stalking is a series of actions that make you feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious, often violent, and can escalate over time.
Stalking is a crime.
A stalker can be someone you know well or not at all. Most have dated or been involved with the people they stalk. About 75 percent of stalking cases are men stalking women, but men do stalk men, women do stalk women, and women do stalk men.
Some things stalkers do:
- Repeatedly call you, including hang-ups.
- Follow you and show up wherever you are.
- Send unwanted gifts, letters, cards, or e-mails.
- Damage your home, car, or other property.
- Monitor your phone calls or computer use.
- Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where you go.
- Drive by or hang out at your home, school, or work.
- Threaten to hurt you, your family, friends, or pets.
- Find out about you by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through your garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
- Other actions that control, track, or frighten you.
You are not to blame for a stalker's behavior.
What To Do If You Are a Victim
Remember, you neither wanted nor deserved to be stalked. You are the victim, not the criminal.
Communicate to the stalker that you do not want any contact with him/her.
Notify the police that you are a victim of stalking, even if you do not plan to bring formal charges.
Build your case against the stalker by providing the police with any or all of the following:
Documentation (personal journal or diary) of the stalker's activities
Taped recording(s) of threatening telephone calls.
Videotape of stalker's actions.
Basic identifying information (i.e. license plate number, make of car, personal appearance).
List of contacts with the stalker (i.e. date, time, place, what was said, letters/calls/email messages received).
Get and anti-stalking retraining order from your local district court (this order states that the stalker is to have no contact with the victim; if violated, the criminal penalties will follow). When a straining order is obtained, it is important to report any contact that you have with the stalker (i.e. email messages, phone calls or answering machine messages, letters, beeper codes, etc.).
You may also bring a civil action against your stalker.
If you are feeling typical feelings of fear, helplessness, guilt and/or frustration, counseling could be very helpful.
It is important to have support from your friends and/or family during this emotionally distressing event.
Women are three times more likely to be stalked than men.
If You're Stalked...
- Feel fear of what the stalker will do.
- Feel vulnerable, unsafe, and not know who to trust.
- Feel anxious, irritable, impatient, or on edge.
- Feel depressed, hopeless, overwhelmed, tearful, or angry.
- Feel stressed, including having trouble concentrating, sleeping, or remembering things.
- Have eating problems, such as appetite loss, forgetting to eat, or overeating.
- Have flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, feelings, or memories.
- Feel confused, frustrated, or isolated because other people don't understand why you are afraid.
These are common reactions to being stalked.
If someone you know is being stalked, you can help.
Listen. Show support. Don't blame the victim for the crime. Remember that every situation is different, and allow the person being stalked to make choices about how to handle it. Find someone you can talk to about the situation. Take steps to ensure your own safety. For more ideas on how you can help, call 1-800-FYI-CALL or visit www.ncvc.org/src.
3.4 million people are stalked each year in the United States.